“Inviting Success,” Liahona, Mar. 2014, 42–45
Sharing the gospel is often as simple as extending an invitation, asking a question, or joining in a conversation. As we prepare our hearts to share the gospel, the Lord will direct us to those who are ready to hear it.
“[The Lord] has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work,” President Thomas S. Monson said in the October 2013 general conference.1 Here are several examples.
When Nick Barton and his wife, Morgan, moved to Arizona, USA, where Nick would attend law school, they started praying for missionary opportunities. “We asked Heavenly Father to help us become more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and to be bold enough to take action,” Nick says.
One Saturday, Morgan needed their car for work, so Nick rode his bicycle to campus. When it was time to return home, however, the bike was gone.
“Stolen bicycles were so common that the police asked if there was anything that would help identify it. I remembered that Morgan had glued a label on the handlebar that said, ‘I Love You.’”
Once again Nick prayed. “I asked that I might learn something from the situation,” he says. Then he hopped on the train to get as close as possible to home before calling his wife to come and get him.
“At the next train stop, I saw a big guy with a backwards cap board the train, carrying my bicycle! I saw the ‘I Love You’ on the handlebar, so I knew it was mine,” Nick said. He tapped the man on the shoulder.
“I said, ‘I need to ask you where you got that bike.’ He responded, ‘At a yard sale down the street.’” Nick explained that his bike had been stolen. The young man replied that he was not a thief and that Nick could have the bike back.
“I thanked him and said I would have the police call him so the ‘yard sale’ could be investigated,” Nick says. “He told me his name was Harley and gave me his phone number. I told him I would share the cost of what he had paid, since we had both been wronged, and I walked off the train glad to have my bicycle back.”
But that was only the beginning.
“Out of curiosity, I called Harley the next morning. He said the police were following through. Then he asked if my wife and I might want to do something later in the day. I realized he was trying to become friends.
“It being Sunday, I told him we were going to church but that we would be happy to get together with him another time. As I hung up the phone, it dawned on me that this was a missionary opportunity pure and clear. I called him back and asked if he would be interested in coming to church with us. He agreed! He attended all the meetings and let me know afterward that he felt the speakers and teachers were talking directly to him.
“Harley had family overseas and moved away shortly after we met,” Nick says. “But he did become our friend, gained respect for the Church, and was reassured that his Heavenly Father is mindful of him.”
“One day, after listening to a conference message, I had the impression that I needed to talk to the pharmacy technician at the store,” says Hannah Rawhouser, also of Arizona. “The voice inside me said, ‘He is a good person. You need to invite him to a Church activity.’”
The next time Hannah was in the drive-through, she looked for him, but he wasn’t there. Still, the prompting persisted.
“A few weeks later, I pulled up again, and there he was. With the expectation that my time would be brief, I went directly to the matter at hand. ‘Do you go to church?’ I asked. He paused with surprise and then said yes. I handed him my business card. ‘Call me sometime,’ I said and drove away. ‘Well, I did my part,’ I thought. ‘Now I won’t have any more nagging feelings.’”
To her surprise, he called the next day and introduced himself as Greg Eiselin. “He told me later that, because we are both young and single, he thought I was asking him for a date,” she says. “But we ended up talking about religion for three hours, and he began learning about the Church.” Today Elder Eiselin is serving a full-time mission in Montana, USA.
As a 26-year-old, Robert G. Ellis Jr. was working as a police officer in a Senate office building in Washington, D.C., USA.
“I spent a lot of time pondering what I had learned about Jesus,” he recalls. “My father and mother didn’t attend any church, but they had allowed me to go, and I had enjoyed attending more than a dozen denominations.” As a newly married young adult, he felt that he should be baptized—but in what church?
“My spirit was troubled. I wanted to find a church that was true to Christ’s teachings. People would say that all the churches were the Lord’s Church, but they did not hesitate to say that another denomination was wrong. I prayed, ‘I want to be baptized, but I don’t know which church to join.’”
Remembering that Jesus Christ said, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7), Robert kept pleading. One day while he was at work, Robert again felt troubled, and tears came to his eyes.
“I felt frightened and did not know if my thoughts were right or wrong. Then a peaceful feeling came over me. Without totally realizing why I was doing it, I walked over to an elevator operator and asked, ‘What church do you belong to?’”
The elevator operator was Norman Maxfield, a returned missionary attending Georgetown University.
“He looked up from some books. I could tell he was surprised. He said, ‘I’m a Mormon. Why?’
“I said, ‘I want to be baptized, but I don’t know which church to join.’
“He asked, ‘What do you believe in?’
“‘Jesus Christ,’ was the answer I proudly gave.
“He asked, ‘May I tell you about my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?’ As he told me that Christ’s Church had been restored to the earth, I knew that my prayers had been answered. The feeling within me was wonderful.”
That was in 1977. Today Brother and Sister Ellis are members of the Church in Virginia, USA.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that “when we are standing as ‘witnesses of God at all times and in all things’ (Mosiah 18:9), the Lord will open ways for us to find and have appropriate communications with those who are seeking. This will come when we seek direction and when we act out of a sincere and Christlike love for others.”2
Nick, Hannah, Greg, Robert, and Norman would all agree that what he said is true.